An anonymous reader quotes a report from VICE: Voters in both Denver and Chicago have overwhelmingly thrown their support behind local community broadband projects, joining the hundreds of U.S. communities that have embraced home-grown alternatives to entrenched telecom monopolies. In Chicago, roughly 90 percent of voters approved a non-binding referendum question that asked: “should the city of Chicago act to ensure that all the city’s community areas have access to broadband Internet?” The vote opens the door to the city treating broadband more like an essential utility, potentially in the form of community-run fiber networks. In Denver, 83.5 percent of the city’s electorate cast ballots in favor of question 2H, which asked if the city should be exempt from a 2005 law, backed by local telecom monopolies, restricting Colorado towns and cities from being able to build their own local broadband alternatives. […] “I think the margin in Chicago and Denver is remarkable,” [said Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband networks for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.] “When we work with communities where half the residents have a cable monopoly and the other half don’t have any broadband, the demand for something better is strong among both populations.”

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